HomeCareerWhy Did You Leave Your Last Job? - Interview Question

Why Did You Leave Your Last Job? – Interview Question

Why did you leave your last job? It is one of the most common questions asked by the interviewer when you apply for a job. That’s a tricky question.

I can almost guarantee that in your next interview this question would come up.

Now unless you’ve never worked a day in your life, and this is kinda your first job, then, if that’s the case this question is not for you. But in this case, if you worked for somebody, and then now you apply for your next position.

Now keep in mind, that there are only a few scenarios, and I’m gonna give you some scripts and words that you could say, and how to handle these different objections.

Leave Last Job

Why Did You Leave Your Last Job? – Interview Question

#1 You Left the Job 

Let’s say, take the first example, that you left the last job, you didn’t get fired, you left the job. 

What you don’t wanna do in an interview is, never put down your ex-boss or your ex-company, because the minute you do that, first of all, it feels that you are kind of holding grudges, or that you’re badmouthing somebody else.

As an employer, like oh, if you leave this job, is that what you’re gonna do to me? 

So don’t do that. And don’t share stuff that gets very personal and emotional, oh I don’t feel like I’m being valued, I don’t feel like I’m getting paid enough.

That’s not how you bring it up either, right? Because, again, as an employer, I will worry if you come in the company, is that what you’re gonna be thinking? Am I bringing in a bad apple?

So, let’s say you walk out of that environment, and you quit that business.

So here’s something that you could say.

So, why did you leave your last job?

And you can say, “Well, I enjoyed the three years that I worked in ABC Company.”

“And we took the company from X to Y.”

“And during that time I’ve learned a lot, and I met some amazing people.”

“But, you know, it’s time, I feel like I’m ready for more.”

“And I feel that I could do more,” and I’m looking for a new position in your company “to take on more challenges, and to grow, and to be more.”

You see how that works, right? You are explaining it, you’re not putting anybody down, you’re just simply saying,

“You know, it’s my personal choice, that I wanna grow, “I wanna do more and I believe I could do more.”

So as an employer, from my perspective, “Okay, this person is looking for a bigger platform.” “That’s normal, everybody wants to grow.”

You’re not badmouthing anybody, so that’s a very good reply. 

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#2 You got Fired from your Job

Now, on the other hand, what if you actually got laid off?

It’s some corporate restructuring and you got laid off, so how do you bring that up?

It’s no good idea to share like –

“Well, you know what, one day I walked in the office and the VP of Human Resources just hand me a letter and I packed my stuff, and here I am today, I’m applying for this job.”

No, that’s not what you say. Okay, don’t say that. Let’s say you’re working for a software company.

Explain the scenario. I’ve been with this software company for almost five years, and in the last two years, we’ve invested millions of dollars developing this new software, and unfortunately none of those sold very well. And the company lost millions and millions of dollars.”

See, nothing personal. It’s just, that things happen.

The company made some bad investments, and here I am today. So that feels very neutral, doesn’t it, right?

It doesn’t feel like you’re attacking anybody, it doesn’t feel like you’re acting like a victim, it’s just, that the company made some bad decisions, and they lost money and they had to let some people go.

Now of course, afterward, you might need to insert some of your personal stories. And a little bit after that. Because you’ve set the stage, the frame, but now you’ve gotta explain how that relates to your skillsets, what you could bring to this new company that you’re applying for, right?

#3 You Get Fired

In another scenario, now maybe you got fired because of your attitude, your performance, or your personality. 

I hope that’s not the case, but that might be the case. If that’s the case, you gotta look within, what are some of the things you gotta share for, and some of the things you gotta improve, because the same shit is gonna happen in the next job.

Assuming you’re correcting them, here’s what you could say –

“You know, I have been the VP of this company for years now, and during that time, I have learned a lot and generated a lot of results.

We have been able to expand, we’ve got these results, and we’ve been able to develop new territories, whatever it might be.

One day, the CEO feels like the vision that they have, management changes, that they feel they want to bring on someone new, they feel like my strengths no longer matched the vision of the company.

And so then, I’m here, seeking new challenges to bring everything I’ve learned from the previous company, the new skills, the experience, the contacts I have, to be able to put my talents to work in this new position.” That’s it.

Final words

You need to keep it very very very simple. So you are acting, you are talking, you are behaving like a professional.

Don’t get too emotional, don’t get, “Oh man, I don’t know why they fired me,” no. Very logical and say, “Hey, here’s what happens, here’s why I’m here, here’s what I’m looking for.” Don’t badmouth anybody, don’t put them down.

Just be very neutral. And then, the interviewer, the employer would be, now, they would ask you other different types of questions, which I’ll teach you later.

And don’t spend too much time on this. Don’t go on and on and on, ’cause I see this a lot too. Don’t tell them your entire history in that company, 30 seconds, one minute, you got it?

Try this out and let me know if this works for you. Send me an e-mail at sk@moneyexcel.com.

Shitanshu Kapadia
Shitanshu Kapadiahttp://moneyexcel.com/
Hi, I am Shitanshu Kapadia founder of moneyexcel.com. I have written 1800+ articles on this blog. I am PGDBA(marketing), engaged in blogging for 10 years. Moneyexcel blog is ranked as one of the Top 10 Personal Finance Blog in India. The purpose of this blog is to spread financial awareness and help people in managing money. Please note that the views expressed on this Blog are clarifications meant for reference and guidance of the readers to explore further on the topics. These should not be construed as investment advice or legal opinion.
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